He does not believe that his numerous appeals to refugees have been fruitless. His warnings probably come as a reaction to Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni’s refugee policy.
Pope Francis once again criticized the deportation of migrants during the flight back to Marseille, on Saturday. “There have been very ugly cases where migrants have been sent back as if they were playing ping pong. It is known that they often end up in camps and end up even worse than before”, said the Pope in an interview with journalists on the plane to Rome.
When asked by a journalist whether his appeals to migrants since the beginning of his pontificate ten years ago had been unsuccessful, the Pope replied: “I don’t think so, I would say that growth has been slow. Today there is more awareness of the problem of migration. Consciousness has hit a point like a hot potato – you don’t know how to deal with it.”
Treated like “slaves”.
The Pope reiterated that migrants in refugee camps in North Africa are treated as “slaves”. “We can’t just send them back like a ping-pong ball. Migrants must be welcomed, accompanied, supported and integrated”, stated the pontiff.
Francis’ words are seen as a response to Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose government wants to increase its efforts to deport economic migrants. Meloni plans to create deportation centers in each of Italy’s 20 regions with the aim of facilitating deportations. The island of Lampedusa, in southern Italy, has been faced with massive flows of refugees in recent weeks. In just a few days, 11,000 migrants arrived on the island between Tunisia and Sicily, more than ever before.
Francis explicitly dedicated his two-day visit to the southern French port city of Marseille on Friday and Saturday to the fate of refugees in Europe. With dramatic words, he called once again for a better reception of refugees in Europe. He denounced the fact that many migrants are being denied a human life. (APA)